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Industry Focus: Taking Advantage of Power Conditioning

August 20, 2008 10:49 am | Articles | Comments

Power has the essential role in the operation of a factory since no machinery can run without it, but power isn’t a guarantee. Companies performing industrial automation lose up to millions of dollars and hours of production time annually due to power anomalies. There are two types of power anomalies: natural phenomena which are harder to control and internal anomalies which are easier to control.

Developing Comprehensive, Cost-Effective Hardware and Software Solutions for the Cardiac Device Market

August 6, 2008 10:46 am | by Jose Villasenor Fernandez, M.D., Global Medical Applications Specialist, Freescale Semiconductor and David Niewolny, Medical Product Marketing Manager, Freescale Semiconductor | Articles | Comments

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally. An estimated 17.5 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2005, representing 30 percent of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 7.6 million were due to heart attacks, and 5.7 million were due to stroke. By 2015, an estimated 20 million people will die from cardiovascular disease every year, primarily from heart attacks and strokes. Many of these deaths may occur with no previous symptoms of cardiovascular disease.

Industry Focus: Defining Distributor Design

July 28, 2008 9:10 am | by Chris Keuling, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

The electronics distributor plays an important role in the electronic components industry, selling engineers the components and subsystems they need to use in their designs. A growing number of distributors also provide value-added services such as design support to their customers. With the combined pressure of the shrinking design cycle and expanded technology availability, it’s important for engineers to be able to talk to someone who can help them throughout the design process. We recently cold-called a number of major distributors without identifying ourselves as press and simply asked what design services they perform.

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Industry Focus- Wireless USB's Easy Data Transfer in Consumer Electronics

July 2, 2008 6:51 am | Articles | Comments

The growing multimedia capabilities of consumer electronics are placing new demands on bulk data transfer between devices. Now WiMedia-standard Ultra Wideband (UWB) is entering the mainstream in laptops and computer peripherals, so consumers can easily transfer files without complex network configuration, and without cables.

Digital Power Management and the PMBus

April 25, 2008 5:50 am | by Torbjorn Holmberg, Ericsson Power Modules | Articles | Comments

As systems that incorporate low-voltage logic become ever more complex, the power supplies necessary to correctly operate multiple-voltage chips such as DSPs and FPGAs similarly increase in complexity. For example, it’s now commonplace for an FPGA’s core to operate at 1.2 – 1.8V, while its I/O banks run from multiple levels to interface with external logic families. Most often, chips that have core power supplies that are independent from I/O and auxiliary levels require careful power sequencing to ensure they start up and operate correctly.

Battery and IC Products Enable Portable Consumer-Electronic Devices

February 26, 2008 11:21 am | by Kevin Tretter, Senior Product Marketing Engineer, Analog & Interface Products Division, Microchip Technology Inc | Articles | Comments

In the world of portable consumer-electronic devices, manufacturers are faced with a challenging prospect — creating physically smaller devices that have enhanced performance while maintaining or extending operating battery life. These requirements have rippled throughout the entire electronics industry, forcing battery and Integrated Circuit (IC) manufacturers to constantly push the boundaries of technology.

Building Automotive GUIs “In a Flash”

January 25, 2008 5:51 am | Articles | Comments

According to Adobe Systems, over 300 million mobile devices have graphical user interfaces (GUIs) based on Adobe Flash technology – a number that may exceed a billion by 2010. Developers of in-car navigation and infotainment systems are also beginning to embrace Flash, for a simple reason: it can reduce the time to build a GUI by up to 50%. In the past, software teams had to translate their GUI prototypes into C, C++, or Java code, a labor-intensive process that can take many months. Now, teams can prototype their GUIs with high-level Flash tools and run those GUIs directly on embedded Flash players, without having to write graphics code.

Military and Aerospace Systems Still Rely on Proven COTS Technology

January 3, 2008 5:55 am | by Doug Patterson, VP-Worldwide Sales & Marketing; Aitech Defense Systems Inc. | Articles | Comments

Because of its inherent benefits including decreases to development times and increases in component compatibility, COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) has been adopted by a vast number of industries, including the aerospace, military and space exploration markets. Most embedded systems within aerospace and military applications perform a function in some way related to mission-critical operation of the larger system and/or platform, making performance, reliability and functionality imperative to the design and manufacture of the embedded computing system.  These systems must therefore operate flawlessly in very specific and defined ways while exposed to extreme environments, including high shock and vibration resistance, wide, dynamic temperature ranges, high humidity (or immersion), and the absolute vacuum of deep space.

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The end of region-specific TV designs?

October 25, 2007 11:12 am | by Brian D. Mathews, Marketing Director, TV Segment, Xceive Corporation | Articles | Comments

Consumer electronics manufacturers must develop completely different television receiver product designs for different countries or regions. The standards and technologies for television reception vary considerably so it has been impractical to consider a single flexible design covering multiple standards or regions. However, new technologies are emerging which will make it possible to have a single product design address multiple countries or regions.

More than Skin Deep

October 16, 2007 7:58 am | by Dan Dodge, CEO, QNX Software | Articles | Comments

Put simply, to create a succesful interface for any complex product, you have to go beyond skin deep. You must be concerned not only with the layer that the user sees, hears, or touches, but also with the underlying software that ensures the interface is constantly available and quick to respond. Because, after all, nobody likes wimpy response times.

Inertial Sensors Enable Automotive Safety

September 26, 2007 9:24 am | by Mike Layton, Customer Adaptation Center Manager, Systron Donner Automotive | Articles | Comments

Miniature solid-state inertial sensors are now in widespread use in passenger cars and SUVs with electronic stability control (ESC) being one of the primary high-volume applications. Tens of millions of gyros and accelerometers have been installed in vehicles since ESC first appeared in 1995. The primary ESC inertial sensors are a yaw sensor that measures vehicle turn rate and an accelerometer that measures side-to-side acceleration. The success of these sensors can beattributed to the use of extremely stable micromachined structures made from crystalline quartz and silicon with no moving parts and corresponding fatigue failure.

Ethernet Adoption Encourages Open Protocols

August 30, 2007 5:49 am | by Robert Jackson, PAC and HMI product manager, National Instruments, and Alex McCarthy, instrument control senior product manager, National Instruments | Articles | Comments

Engineers and system designers can exchange information around the world using instant messaging, Web browsers, and e-mail protocols based on Ethernet. The impact on our daily jobs is part of a larger trend described in the book The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman. Friedman describes how broad Ethernet adoption, combined with open protocols and widely adopted platforms such as the World Wide Web, causes a dramatic shift in the global economy. In his words, the global economy is becoming “flat.” In addition to delivering data in the global economy, Ethernet is well suited for distributed test and industrial automation systems. New Ethernet standards have increased bandwidth from 10 Mb/s in 1983 to 1 Gb/s in 1998. It will take several years for the new 10GBASE-T standard (2006) to reach comparable price points with the currently deployed 1GBASE-T and 100BASE-T standards. With Ethernet, as well as PCI Express and USB, industrial automation and test systems can operate with higher performance at lower costs.

RoHS: One Year Later

July 30, 2007 8:09 am | by Zulki Khan, president, NexLogic Technologies, Inc. | Articles | Comments

The industry’s conversion from leaded (eutectic) to lead-free has been slow. The industry perception prior to July 2006 was a virtual overnight switch to lead-free.  However, today many OEMs still have a “don’t care, wait and see attitude” since they’re either RoHS-exempt at this time or don’t sell into Europe.

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Distribution and the Evolving Web

June 26, 2007 8:06 am | by Rob Birse, Vice-president of Marketing, Allied Electronics | Articles | Comments

If you spend time on the Internet, you may have noticed a subtle but important shift in the way web sites are beginning to interact with visitors. Web sites that feature static content have faded away and are being replaced by interactive web sites that engage the user. This recent shift in content — termed Web 2.0 — reflects the idea that the web is moving into its next generation of interactivity.  The electronic component industry is certainly not exempt from this recent web trend.  Many distributors have already done a considerable amount to beef up their web sites in response to engineers’ changing preference of obtaining information on the Internet in recent years. As distributors are quickly learning, they must do even more to keep engineers engaged and returning to their web site

Q & A with Stephen Wong

June 18, 2007 10:33 am | Articles | Comments

In this Interview Stephen Wong, Regional Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) for the Americas, discusses the state of distribution in Hong Kong and touches  on key topics such as the impact of China's membership in the WTO, RoHS and Hong Kong's strategies to strengthen their global position.

Managing Bluetooth Profiles: A Billion Served

June 4, 2007 7:50 am | by Greg Burns, CTO, Open Interface North America | Articles | Comments

In January 2007, Bluetooth SIG, the member-supported trade organization that defines and enforces Bluetooth wireless technology standards, celebrated a major milestone -- total worldwide shipment of Bluetooth chips surpassed the one-billion-unit mark. Since to make Bluetooth work there must be a Bluetooth protocol stack either embedded on the Bluetooth chip or running on a host processor that communicates with the Bluetooth chip, this milestone also celebrates the shipment of over a billion Bluetooth protocol stacks.

Design of Medical Devices: Batteries Designed to Accommodate Sterilization

May 15, 2007 11:22 am | by Robin Sarah Tichy, Ph.D., Technical Marketing Manager, Micro Power Electronics | Articles | Comments

Many medical devices, such as those used in surgery, must be sterilized prior to use. The operating table is surrounded by a sterile zone; untethering surgical devices increases the ease of maintaining and simplifying the sterile area, but battery packs, especially rechargeable battery packs, present unique challenges for sterilization.

Emerging Trends in Mil/Aerospace Embedded Systems: The new VPX backplane architecture, multi-core processors and the emergence of FPGA-based systems

May 2, 2007 5:22 am | by John Wemekamp, VP Strategic Planning/CTO, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing | Articles | Comments

Several emerging new trends promise to shape the future direction of embedded system design for rugged, high performance defense and aerospace applications. In response to the ever increasing amount of high speed sensor data that systems are being tasked to process, in applications such as radar and signal processing, a new bus architecture, VPX (VITA 46) has been developed that goes far beyond the long popular VMEbus, providing the bandwidth required to support serial switch fabrics and

April Product Technology Review - DC/DC Converters

April 2, 2007 10:52 am | Articles | Comments

Ericsson added three DC/DC converters to its PKJ 4000 Series for RFPA (radio frequeenc power amplifier) applications. The PKJ 4316 API is rated at 350W, 48V in/28.2V/12.4A. It is joined by the PKJ 4316 P rated at 48V in/28.2V/11A 310W out, and the PKJ 4216N PI that is rated at 48V in/30.2V/8.3A 250W out. Available in t

The Evolution of Wireless Distribution

April 2, 2007 7:24 am | by Maria Gelphman, Marketing Manager, Richardson Electronics | Articles | Comments

Historically, the role of a distributor was a company who took orders and stocked parts. In the wireless world, the OEM customer had the ability for marketing, sales, engineering as well as manufacturing residing under their own roof. The wireless distributor played in niche markets such as defense, where RF and Microwave were born and design cycles were lengthy. Wireless distributors were not expected to provide the engineering interface that is so critical today. It was about inventory turns, price and delivery.

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